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[Open Letter] Ineffective / Non-availability of Anti-Snake Venom Serum Causing Loss of Lives in Ghana

While Covid-19 has struck the World and our societies, we should also not neglect other major pressing health issues especially here in Ghana. As you may have followed our recent open letters to the Ministry of Health (MoH) as well as the various publications from our local media outlets on the topic of infective / non-availability of Anti-Snake Serum and Procurement Breaches in our country by the MoH, we from IMANI are committed to making sure everything possible is done in the interest of our dear nation.

As you may know, Ghana is in dire need of an effective polyvalent Anti Snake Venom Serum to treat patients, especially our poor farmers who are the most vulnerable and affected people by this neglected tropical disease. As of 2018, Ghana’s MoH had not procured any Anti Snake Venom Serum due to various procurement irregularities in trying to favor a specific company and product until this date.

In 2019, our country recorded over 9,600 snake bite victims (nine thousand six hundred) snake bites, this being only the reported cases from Government facilities as many snake bite victims still opt for traditional treatment options. This should give you an idea how grim the situation is in our beloved country. The unjustifiable delay by the MoH in awarding a contract for procurement of a good product have made the situation even worse.

We from IMANI conducted our own investigations into anti-snake venom manufacturers and have sighted widely published international studies of various Anti Snake Venom Serum for sub-Saharan Africa.

We understand that your esteemed organization is conducting a pre-qualification listing process for sub-Saharan Africa Snake Antivenom since 2018. Therefore, we have the following pressing questions on this issue for your consideration:

  1. Have Vins Bioproducts Ltd., Premium Serums and Vaccines Pvt. Ltd. and Inosan Biopharma SA been considered for pre-qualification listing audit by your organization? These three companies have registered their Anti Snake Venom Serum in Ghana.
  2. Which of the said companies have passed your GMP audit inspections?
  3. Has the WHO procured Anti Snake Venom Serum from any of the above listed manufacturers recently and if yes which one? We are keen that our MoH makes a wise decision by procuring a good product as there are not only many reports of ineffective Anti Snake Venom in our market but also reports and evidence of loss of many lives due to unavailable effective Anti-Snake Venom Serum here in Ghana. Your esteemed organization plays a major advisory role on health issues worldwide and it is of upmost importance that these questions are answered as they affect thousands of lives in our country.
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